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Posts Tagged ‘power exchange’

Back from all of my travels and travails, and now it’s time again for Monday Advice! (Shut up, it’s still Monday.)

Dear Delilah,

After a longish period of hesitation (ok, hiding under the covers) I’ve gotten back into dating and have met a very sweet guy who is also a top. We’ve been playing together and hanging out and things seem to be progressing very nicely.

There’s this thing, though. I’ve found that when I get submissive with him, that headspace sort of bleeds into our just hanging out time. I find that I just sort of..wait around for him to make decisions about what it is we’re going to do, for example, or just responding and not initiating. It’s frustrating and irritating (for both of us, I’m sure).

I don’t want to be doing this! I’d like to build a relationship with this guy, and I can’t very well do that if I’m not being forthright with him. Can you offer advice on how to ‘change gears’ more effectively?

Thanks for your help,
N.

I know I’m going to bore you to death with this answer, N, but as always: communicate, communicate, communicate. Do you know, for example, that this is irritating for him? Maybe he’s enjoying having you subby a lot of the time when he’s around. However, it’s obviously frustrating and irritating you, so it’s important that you get this problem out in the open with him and find a way to resolve it.

If you’re not interested in developing a 24/7 D/s relationship, then it’s especially important that this be resolved. Here are some suggestions.

Come up with some sort of ritualized beginning and ending to your play. Collars are great for this, although some people find that their symbolism is too intense. You may come up with a set of words to say that signals the completion of a scene, or you may put a piece of jewelry or clothing on your body that grounds you into your self. Come up with something that works for you to differentiate scene time from non-scene time.

You might also have him deliberately make you make a decision of some sort – where you will go for dinner, or what kind of music to put on – shortly after you play, to get you into non-subby mode.

On the other side of this, however, I would play with what it’s like to be subby in non-scene space, if this interests you. Just make sure that you’re doing it deliberately rather than as a default. Consciousness is key to full enjoyment, and you might enjoy quiet times with your guy in that soft space of compliance if you’re both aware and doing it on purpose. Just make sure, again, that you have your “key” or mechanism for getting out of that space when you want to.

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I have a sweetie with whom do a lot of (scorching) “non-consensual” play. We sometimes have difficulties negotiating in scene.

It works if I come out of subspace enough to chirp a campy “Oh no! Not that! Please don’t make me come. That would be too humiliating!” But, I have to tear myself out of a very happy headspace to do that. And, the over-the-top tone necessary for this to work makes both of us a little giggly.

What suggestions do you have for negotiating within a non-con scene without completely coming out of headspace and losing the flow?

A fascinating question this week. “Nonconsensual” play is one of the more challenging rows to hoe within the BDSM scene, for the reason you bring up here and for any number of other reasons. I could go on and on at dick-shriveling length about all of the ways it can go wrong, how to mitigate against that, and how to do non-con play safely.

But from your question, it sounds like you’re playing very safely and happily, and you just need a little bit of finessing to take it to the next level.

I will say here that if your biggest problem in non-con scenes is that you’re giggly, you’re doing pretty well. But I also fully understand the urge to make it more real. It sounds like you want to go to a darker place with this, and that perhaps you’re a bit stuck in the “damsel in distress,” melodrama version of nonconsent.

Not that damsel in distress stuff can’t be hot.

But if you want to get to a place where you’re able to say no and he’s able to ignore your no and you can keep it serious, one way to start is with him “forcing” you to say yes. Part of the deal with nonconsent play is that you have to talk, right? And as I’ve discussed before, talking while in subspace can sometimes be difficult. In my own sub play, I’ve often found it easier to repeat what the top is telling me to say than to generate spoken content on my own. If s/he tells you to beg for it, or to say how much you want it, or other suchlike things, it may feel humiliating in and of itself to beg or to say you want it. Your top might choose to make you say other embarrassing things, too. The result, hopefully, is twofold: you’re being made to talk when it’s difficult to talk, without having to come out of subspace too far. And you’re playing with doing something you don’t want to do for the top’s amusement. It’s only a short leap from getting used to that kind of dirty talk (“please, yes, please make me come,” “I’m a little slut,” or whatever) during play to saying, “No, no, please, no…” without it having to be melodramatic and “chirpy.”

Whew. Okay, now you’ve got me all excited. I hope this is helpful; I’ll be in my bunk.

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I’ve always had a thing for topping dominant men. There’s just something so delicious about taking someone who’s caused you so much pain and pleasure and making them squirm.

Even nicer, though, is topping other switches. Switches are some of my favorite people to play with, actually, and I’m lucky to be in a scene where not a ton of value is placed on identifying as “pure top” or “true submissive.” While I know a few people who would never think of picking up a paddle, and a few others who would laugh in my face if I asked to tie them down, most of the folks I know either truly enjoy both roles, or at least occasionally dabble in the role that isn’t usual for them.

The neatest thing about it, I think, is that switches who can fully engage in both roles already know what both roles feel like. It makes them more sensitive to the difficulties and insecurities each role can bring up, and allows them both to help the other party along if he or she is inexperienced, and to fully surrender or take control in the role they’ve chosen.

Submission is always a gift, but it feels like an extra-special gift to me when I’m given it by the one who spends most of his time domming me.

There can be few better ways to spend an afternoon then sliding gloved fingers in and out of my usual dominant, gently guiding his hands away from his cock to keep him from distracting himself, watching him shudder and sigh and build, burying myself inside his body, nearly blind with the chemical rush of control and pleasure, hand becoming cock pouring love into him and out again into me, then, instead of letting him fuck my mouth, sucking him off actively while I press on his prostate for all I’m worth, forcing him to explode in my mouth.

As I curled up on his chest, my cunt soaking from the waves of power and his pleasure, so closely linked to mine now, I told him, “That was a completely satisfying sexual experience.” I hadn’t actually physically had an orgasm. But I spend a lot of time with him worshipping his body and letting him manhandle mine. The opportunity to invade the body I worship is an opportunity for even greater sacredness.

Tomorrow he’ll be ordering me to my knees again. But now and then I can revel in the precious gift of his submission.

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[Part 1 is here.]

I’ve taken the cuffs off of him and for a moment we’re equals, dropped lightly out of the scene and into a few seconds of friendly conversation, laced with compassion and care.

“I haven’t been to that place in a long time,” he tells me again. “I so needed it.”

“I’m not done with you yet,” I remind him with a smirk. “Are you ready to go on?”

The flogging wasn’t even that severe; it was something about the thuddy pressure, the rhythmic nature of it, his surrender, that made him break. His back is reddened but not welted, and I can tell that he can take a lot more. I take the four-foot singletail out of my bag and order him onto his hands and knees on the bed.

In an instant he is down again, dropped into that swimming pool I know so well, the place of buzzy-headed wordlessness. I start swinging the whip back and forth across his ass, leaving little red trails in perfect horizontal formation. He breathes, managing the pain, arching his back, rolling his hips, letting it flow up his spine. I start throwing the whip and leaving fiery vertical cuts to cross the stripes I’ve already made, throwing it harder, harder, harder, not playing at the speed of sound but getting little low-pitched thaps out of the cracker and sweet whimpers, at a higher and higher pitch, out of him.

I see him start to shiver again, the muscles tense, the breathing quicken. This is the place where I always hedge: do I keep going? I back off a little, slow down, give him more time to process each strike, but then I feel what his body wants, feel that need again from him, and I ramp back up until he breaks a second time, falling face-down on the bed.

I put the whip down and slowly approach. His back is hot, his ass scorching, under my cool hand. I succumb to an impulse I rarely have with clients: to lay my body on top of his, to hold and comfort him. Finally I turn him over, and there’s a moment when I see his cock, hard and short and thick, and think of what it would be like to suck it, to let him fuck me. It comes to mind only because he doesn’t look at me with challenge in his eyes, because his submission is so complete. From the moment we met he has been respectful, classy, considerate, and now he is opened, vulnerable, and more beautiful than I dared to notice.

The moment passes, and again we find ourselves in gentle cameraderie, sitting on the bed together and talking. I ask him if he wants to stop here, or go on with something else; we have perhaps a half hour remaining.

He had told me that strap-on play was very important to him, and I had told him that I don’t do it, but he hired me anyway. On some strange hunch I brought my equipment along, and at the beginning I laid everything out on the bed – “just in case.”

“Please,” he asks me now, not quite back in that submissive headspace but not looking me in the eyes either, “could we play with your strap-on?”

I’m still conflicted about it, knowing the boundaries I generally set for myself and feeling them pushed, but knowing, too, that I deliberately brought it and flaunted it, perhaps in the hopes that I’d get to use it with someone I found attractive. I agree to let him suck it, but don’t make any promises about fucking him.

But having my cock sucked is my downfall.

I strap on the leather harness, with my purple cock through it, and set it in place, feeling the way it connects with my body and becomes an extension of me. At these moments I never feel dominant: I feel exposed, naked and rampant. Powerful, perhaps, but flayed: unveiled in the kind of power that terrifies. With my cock on I feel like a predator in the heat of the kill, and at the same time I fear the foolishness of it, the ridiculous spectacle of a woman wearing a rubber dick. This is another of my secrets about this act, my reluctance in sharing it with strangers: what if they see that I’m like a tiger wearing a baby bonnet – or worse, like a sheep wearing a wolf suit?

But with the object of desire in place he falls into role again as easily as breathing. I put my hand back in his curls and help/force him to his knees in front of me, and he takes the purple cock – my cock – into his mouth and sucks.

Sucking my cock is a sure way to plug it even more deeply into my body: watching someone suck it, suck it earnestly and treat it like it’s real, makes it real. Some part of me extends outward, fills the space the cock occupies, ennervates it and animates it, and all at once I’m not just shoving a silicone cock I have strapped to my body with leather down your throat. I’m fucking your mouth.

I fuck his mouth a little and watch his eyes tear as he looks up at me. I feel the abandon start to rise in me, the wetness and the growling and the fear, the fear of how I’ll let go, coming and snarling and shooting my energy into this person I don’t know, scaring him maybe, giving away my life force, and I pull him back by the hair. He looks at me with that pleading in his eyes that I can’t refuse. “Please fuck me,” he whispers, “just a little. Please.”

I pull him onto the bed and order him back onto his hands and knees. “Back up,” I say, and he backs his muscular ass toward the end of the bed so I can stand while I fuck. I grab a glove and the thick lube I’ve brought and my black-gloved finger finds his hole and pushes, swirls around the opening, finds him warm and ready and yearning.

I slide into him and he makes that sound, that sound that is only made by men who are being fucked in the ass because they want it. That half-whimper, half-moan, that fucking beautiful sound of abandon and pleasure and fear and yearning and taboos busted all over the floor.

He fucks back into me and I hold his hips with one gloved hand and one bare one, guiding him onto my curved purple cock, filling his guts. I start to feel it building in me again, the unreal reality of my cock squeezed by his tight little asshole, the fucking miracle of my cock disappearing inside him, the sounds he’s making – and then he’s asking me if he can touch himself and yes, of course, play with your cock but don’t come until I tell you, and I feel dizzy and tunnel-visioned and I don’t want to come, I can’t come, not here, not with him, and why not, but I want to, but I hold back and keep control, letting him find his abandon without taking my own.

“Please may I come?” he gasps, and what can I say but yes, fucking come for me, and he does, crying out, his sounds like someone dying of sex, and I fear the tears again but there’s nothing, only silence and softness and I pull out of him, humbled, a little embarrassed, happy that I had him that way and not face-up, where he couldn’t see my face, the struggle, the loss of composure.

Immediately I take the harness off and begin to bring the scene down; somehow I can’t cuddle him now, it’s too intimate, but I speak gently and let him recover in his own time. He thanks me and I thank him again, and we slowly recover our roles – or recover from them.

It’s awkward, saying goodbye. I’d like to see him again and I know that that can’t happen except at his instigation. Even if we do, it won’t be me he sees. Not the me who would like to fuck him again, without money exchanging hands, without the need to hold back, to wear a corset while I do it, to play, as I sometimes have to, at loving less.

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So it may come as a surprise to no one that now that I’ve quit the pro-domming business, I’ve been having wicked fantasies about doing terrible, terrible things to lovely boys and men. I mean, it’s like the old joke about the gynecologist, right?

Well, sort of. See, I’ve had a thing about Not Doing Strap-On Sex At Work for the entirety of my tenure as a pro. It was just something I didn’t do. Now, part of the reason I didn’t do it was because it crosses the line into sex: in the state of Massachusetts, if you penetrate an orifice with anything, it’s defined as sex. Good law, for a lot of reasons: it was developed in order to make rape cases where some Neanderthal fucks stuck a shot glass into a woman prosecutable. But problematic law for people doing domination, where one of the most popular items on the menu is being fucked in the ass with a dildo.

For the most part, though, the legal thing was more of an excuse for me not to have to address the real issue, which was that doing strap-on sex was too intimate for me. It was one of the boundaries I set for myself early on, because I didn’t want to be having sex with my clients. I was aware that the other things I was doing were sexual, but I didn’t realize until later the subtle effects that it would have on me. I was prescient enough to know, however, that having strap-on sex with clients would be too much for me.

Why, you might ask? Well, here’s where I break from the crowd completely. I fully appreciate Bitchy’s complaint that strap-ons are not only weird because they imply that power and sexual dominance = having a cock (which I agree is a crock of shit), but that they don’t provide any pleasure to the wielder. I also am pleased with Eileen’s reply wherein she sings the praises of strap-ons as separate from gender identity and recommends them as a tool of dominance comparable to a singletail, a needle, or a fist. But nobody I’ve yet stumbled across (except for, perhaps, Sinclair, but the butch perspective there isn’t one that gets a lot of play in BDSM circles) has gone into anything resembling my own experience of the act.

That is, I fucking love it and it makes me come, in a way that nothing else can.

Because get this: I have a cock. I always have a cock, whether I’m strapping one on or not. It’s non-corporeal, of course, but it’s part of, if you will, my energetic anatomy. Without getting too deeply into spiritual experience, it is a simple fact that at times, I can feel myself penetrating another human being, even when I am not physically doing so. And yes, they feel it too – the force of my will and intention pressing into their bodies, invading them.

For me, the energetics of topping someone will sometimes bring out the hidden masculine in me. I suppose if I wanted to be all Jungian about it, I’d call it my animus. I become more aggressive, my voice deepens, and the desire to possess rips through me. When I strap on a cock, it becomes a very real extension of my body, and when I fuck with it, I don’t want a vibrator inside the harness or anything penetrating me – I just want to fuck. It’s usually not too long into the action that I start to come and come, in a way that even feels distinctly masculine: unlike the internally focused waves that thrash through me when, say, I’m being fisted, I feel energy shooting out from me, into the other person, as white lightning shoots up my spine.

Now. I’ve been reluctant to talk about this, in part because it seems a bit woo-woo, but also in part because I don’t want to give the impression that I think dominance is essentially male, or that penetration is essentially dominant, or any of those bugaboos that come up when we talk about female dominance and try to separate it from gender.

But I do want to record my experience here, because I don’t see a lot of women out there talking about how intensely pleasurable strap-on sex can be for the woman wielding. I also know that my experience is not every woman’s experience – far from it.

But I am out here, feeling this, experiencing this genuinely as part of my rather complex sexuality. For the record, I also often come sympathetically when fisting someone. But this experience is entirely different, separate. It is, at least in part, about awakening my masculine self, my butch self, which is buried deep in a seriously femme facade.

And this is why I didn’t do it at work. I couldn’t fuck men I didn’t know any more than I could let them fuck me. And there weren’t many men (not any, by my last count) that wanted me to fuck them while I wore jeans and a leather vest and boots.

But incidentally…if you are such a man, comment here. I’ve been having the most remarkable fantasies lately…

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A few weeks ago, I had a letter from someone who wanted her partner to top her, but she had more experience and wound up topping from below. This week, we have the flip side of that issue.

I recently declined to get involved with a close friend of mine. I’m an experienced domme, he’s just beginning to explore kink as a submissive. I would prefer that he explore with someone else — if he started with me, I think he’d end up shaping his desires to my tastes out of a desire to please me rather than finding out what he actually independently likes. He doesn’t understand my position, but respects it. I’ve seen this happen too much to want to be a part of it, even/especially with someone I like. How do you think these sorts of situations should be handled?

This is a tough one. You see, on the one hand, I’m all for subs finding out what they independently like; I think it’s generally a good thing for people to explore their own sexualities and find their ways in that fashion.

On the other hand, when I started out as a submissive, I only found out what I liked by playing with people I liked and seeing what they did that I liked.

It is sometimes a feature of being submissive that if you find someone hot and want to play with them, you will probably like what they, specifically, do to you; it’s even possible that that’s why you’re attracted to them to begin with, because you sense that they have something or are capable of something that you want. However, it’s also true that most subs like certain things especially, and some will seek out acts more than people.

For someone who’s new and isn’t sure what he likes – as opposed to someone who’s new and has been fantasizing about sock puppets since he was 7 – I think the best possible thing is for him to play with an experienced top who has range. If he’s not sure what he wants, then he should find the buffet and try a little of everything.

I’m not precisely sure what your concern is in this scenario – or even how it can be avoided. Isn’t it possible that he’ll shape his desires to the taste of whomever he plays with first, not just you? And isn’t part of discovering submission the thrill of finding someone you want to serve and please? I may be with your friend here: I don’t really understand your concern, but I respect it. If you don’t want to play with your friend, obviously you shouldn’t! What I’m reading as implicit in your question, though, is something else: if he shapes his desires to your preferences, then you’ll be responsible for him – you might even “spoil” him for other dommes – and I’m hearing that you don’t want that. I don’t know what your specific reasons are – you say you’ve seen this scenario many times – but I can think of any number of ways that a rookie sub, particularly a close friend, could become a problem for an experienced dom – especially if he gets very attached. He probably isn’t prepared for how intense kink can be, and how much it can bond together the people who engage in it.

It sounds like he needs to explore with someone who doesn’t have a lot of emotional investment in him, and vice versa, with whom he can have fun and make some discoveries about what works for him and doesn’t. The ironic thing, of course, is that he’ll likely find that he doesn’t like some things in casual play which, if he falls in love with a domme, he may endure or even enjoy for her sake. But sexuality is so flexible and fluid that he’ll probably discover that on his own, and starting slow is probably the best way to minimize harm.

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Dear Delilah,

Lately, I’ve found myself fooling around — let’s say somewhere in the between-second-and-third-base range — with two different women who, while seemingly very different, are very alike in a couple of very specific ways. Mainly, they’re both extremely subby.

I have nothing against their subbiness, per se; I’m very much of the “do whatever works for you” philosophy. But while I can be assertive in bed, it’s frequently within more of a power-sharing context — I’m certainly not a dom. I’m not used to being the only one really doing anything. Both of these women tended to just kind of…lay there, as if I was supposed to be telling them what to do, and that’s just not really my thing. I enjoy feeling like whoever I’m with is into what we’re doing, too, that they’re enjoying being with me as much as I’m enjoying being with them.

I suppose it’s not impossible that neither of them were enjoying themselves very much, but I’ve honestly never had that problem with any of my previous partners. And both of these women openly identify as very submissive. I don’t want to have to tell either of them everything I’d like them to do — I’d like to see some initiative here, y’know? But I think I perhaps don’t understand the submissive mindset well enough.

Help me, Delilah! You’re my only hope!

But no pressure, right? Like I’m the goddamn Obi-Wan of kink over here.

Nice boots.
Nice boots.


It sounds like you’ve got a couple of things going on over here. One is that you don’t feel that you’re dominant, and don’t want to do the things a dominant does. And that, my friend, is totally fine.

The other thing is that it sound like your submissive friends are of the passive type: more commonly known as “do-me queens.” Now, there’s not anything wrong with that, either; I’ve certainly been known to be one from time to time. But it works best with a dominant who is very interested in controlling all of the action, and it sounds like you are Not That Guy. If one of you is submissive identified and the other is an egalitarian lover, then you’re going to wind up with a case of Submissive Sheep Syndrome – similar to Lesbian Sheep Syndrome, in which two women, each of them used to having someone else initiate, make like female sheep in heat by standing still and bracing themselves.

Another thing I noticed here: even with you having to do everything, it sounds like you weren’t even getting the benefit of responsiveness. Were they not giving you any indication that they were enjoying themselves? Sighs? Noises? Flushing of the skin? Verbalization? It sounds like their lack of initiative wasn’t the only problem here: you didn’t feel like you were making a connection.

So you have a couple of options. One is simple: don’t play with them. If they’re the type of people whose sexuality is defined by a dominant partner taking control of them and directing every move (and if they “openly identify as very submissive,” then they might be), and you’re not into that, then they’re not appropriate partners for you, and neither of you is going to have a particularly good time.

The other is: talk to them. Are they able to do something other than “lie there”? Let them know you’d like to try something different: a playful wrestling match, for instance. If they have a hard time getting out of the sub/slave mindset, then tell them that what would please you would be for them to be more proactive during play.

As I write that, I’m not convinced it will work, and you may find that these two simply aren’t the right play partners for you. But it’s always worth having a conversation before simply dropping someone.

As always: let me know how it goes!

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